Friday, November 23, 2012


"Edgy" is a pretty nifty word.

For one thing, it is short. Since more people know short words than know long ones, there is a certain social comfort in it.

Digging down just a little bit, "edgy" seems to refer to the fact that some things have "edges." Houses have edges; streets have edges; cars have edges; shoes and fried eggs have edges; airplanes and rock formations have edges; noses and receding hair lines have edges; etc. etc. "Edges" allow people to have coherent and sometimes raucous conversations. "Edges" create books and the thoughts within them.

But the word "edgy" refers to something beyond the imagined literal boundaries of things. "Edgy" carries with it an anxiety mixed with longing ... sort of like a kid who is dying to find out what it would be like to stick a fork in an light socket. "Edgy" travels to the far reaches of comforting social agreements and peers into the great beyond -- the place that edges were constructed to hold at bay. This is a place that can be as naughty and delightful as stealing a forbidden cookie and as frightening as standing on the lip of some Grand Canyon that drops off further and further into depths that cannot be known.

Sometimes there is a conscious longing for what is edgy and sometimes what is edgy comes calling without an invitation. The Democrat recognizes that a Republican tenet is convincing ... or vice versa. The smitten teenager finds some nook within a 'boundless' amour ... a shadowy place where what is irritated and critical lurks. The godless reach the edges of godlessness and find god beckoning even as those filled with holy trumpets find devilishly sour and convincing notes.

It's all edgy shit ... a flat earth that suddenly finds its edges and ... and ... and...

And recoils in horror, perhaps, scrambling to remortar crumbling walls, turning up the volume to drown out the melodies of doubt, claiming to embrace with beloved philosophies what cannot be embraced ...  after all, only things with edges can be embraced.

This is really edgy shit ... fun stuff to run on other, more credulous and well-edged souls, but less enjoyable when the edges and edgelessness lie within: Who would I be without my edges? Wouldn't I just fly apart like some pinata smacked by a well-aimed bat? And, to stick with that simile for a moment, what sort of candy could I expect from having stepped into this Grand Canyon's maw?

A Zen teacher was once asked what was meant by "the Middle Way." Without hesitation, he replied, "It means the extremes." And the same is true for edges and edgelessness ... the edgy world that sings a hundred edgy songs, that beckons and repels with equal ardor, that begs for attention even as anyone might squeeze the eyes shut.

Good and evil, tall and short, joy and sorrow, holy and unholy, anguish and bliss, sweet and sour ... the edges dance with edgelessness. Those ensorcelled by edges may lay claim to edgelessness. Those hypnotized by edgelessness may lay claim to that which is edged. It's all as icky as it is ennobling... but it's part of the dance.

Dancing ... how about them apples?


  1. Wow, beautifully said.
    However, is relativism an edge or edgeless?

  2. Naming, like not-naming, will always stir up uncertainty.